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The Bunurong aboriginal people were custodians of this stretch of coast for thousands of years prior to white settlement. Five clans made up the Bunurong tribe. The Yowenjerre clan occupied the area west from the Tarwin River along what is now the Bunurong Marine and Coastal Park. They quarried the outcrops of volcanic roads which they fashioned into axeheads and which they used to trade with neighbouring tribes. Middens containing charcoal and shellfish mark the location of their campsites along the coast. In 1797, George Bass set sail from Sydney in a whale boat to explore the southern mainland coast. He discovered and named the first natural harbour and the strait that bares this name. In November 1840, Surveyor Townsend anchored off the entrance and camped on the site of present day Inverloch while he spent several days exploring and mapping the inlet and lower reaches of the Tarwin River. He named Anderson Inlet and the prominent bluff that bares this name.
During 1841 George Douglas Smythe surveyed the coast from Cape Paterson to Cape Liptrap including Anderson Inlet, the Tarwin River, lakes, creeks, swamps, scrubs, marshes and ranges within one day's walk of the coast. He named Eagles Nest, Petrel Rock and Point Symthe at the entrance to Anderson Inlet. Industry and transport relied heavily on coal from New South Wales. When miners went on strike in 1909, the Victorian government commenced mining the Powlett River (later Wonthaggi) coalfields. A tent city sprang up in the bush and a railway line was quickly constructed from Nyora to transport the coal. Wonthaggi soon became the largest town in South Gippsland. Today it is the commerce centre of the district. Large numbers of people visit the coast and inevitably place pressure on this fragile environment. The Bunurong Marine Park is being managed so that, while people enjoy the beach and the sea, the unique features and natural beauty of the sea are retained. It isn't always easy to see the damage that we do to marine habitats, but pollution and intensive fishing are harming marine life in may areas. Marine parks and reserves aim to preserve examples of our marine environment.
* Beware of strong currents and undertows on beaches. Observe all warning signs and seek local advice if in doubt. * The sandstone cliffs along sections of the Bunurong coastline may be unstable. Keep to defined tracks and steps and stay away from cliff edges and bases. * Wear shoes that grip well while walking along the rock platforms and beware of unexpected large waves. * Don't put your hand in dark holes- the venomous Blue-ringed Octopus is not uncommon in the park. * Watch out for jelly fish, as they can sting, even when stranded on the beach. * Some anenomes and cone shells have also been reported to sting. * Diving should only be undertaken by people who have had training or are accompanied by an experienced diver. When diving in marine parks you should have a recognised 'Open Water' diving qualification. Consult tide charts, dive with a buddy and have an on-board observer if diving from a boat. * Beware of sudden changes in weather, especially when boating on open water. * Consult AUS Chart 788 for navigation details around the Bunurong coast.